The diachronic study of language and its evolution.

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Degree of difference between language ans its ancestor

I know that languages change over time and they also diverge, which should decrease mutual intelligibility, but usually they do so in the way that keeps bunch of languages more or less together, while ...
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1answer
68 views

Examples of English words that were replaced and became obsolete? [closed]

I have an example in Hebrew, so you can understand what I'm looking for. the English word "taxi" was used in Israel for a long time, because there was no word meaning taxi in Hebrew. a Hebrew word for ...
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40 views

Why is the French accent so different from other Romance accents? [closed]

In terms of pronounciation, the general French accent is very different from the Italian, Spanish or Romanian ones. For example: many conventional sounds in Romance langauges (i.e. /r/ or /j/) are ...
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4answers
133 views

Are sound changes regular?

Are sound changes regular now or not? I mean it seems to me that it's accepted that sound change is pretty regular, because of how sound changes are treated in etymology/historical linguistics. I even ...
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2answers
143 views

What were the westernmost and easternmost Indo-European languages in c. 1350 CE?

More specifically, what are the most historically entrenched westernmost and easternmost Indo-European languages? For my purposes, this excludes the spread of English, Spanish etc. through relatively ...
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495 views

What is the reason for the double negation found in some languages?

I'm a bulgarian. My language has a double negation form and I do not understand why and how can people talk like that and how it came to be in first place. Everyone just seem to accept it and no one ...
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21 views

Influences on the accent of Georgia (the American state)?

The accent of (most of) the American state of Georgia, as far as I know, lacks the drawl of most other Southern American accents. Instead, it is quicker and clipped. Does anyone know why? Does the ...
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81 views

Historical Linguistics: Merging consonants [closed]

In Middle Egyptian (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_language#Phonology), the /s/ and /z/ merged into one sound, but the graphemes continued to be used interchangeably. As one who is interested ...
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104 views

Place feature metathesis

Familiar cases of metathesis involve segments changing places, but metathesis can also operate at the subsegmental level, affecting individual features. I'm specifically interested in metathesis of ...
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1answer
85 views

Are there laws of semantic change? [closed]

I'm looking for laws (hypotheses, presumed laws) of semantic change such as the following: (a) law of differentiation: nearby synonyms tend to diverge in meaning over time (b) parallel change: words ...
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1answer
94 views

Why the grammatical difference between “eu gosto” in Portuguese and “me gusta” in Spanish. What's the historical evolution of this expression?

Apparently, "eu" is the subject in "eu gosto (de isso)" while "me" is the object in "me gusta (algo)". Why such a difference between two languages? What's the historical evolution of this expression?
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37 views

Is the development of an English phrase such as “on the internet” a process of natural selection? [closed]

I keep asking this question over and over again. For example, it seems that the word "Internet" (the specific global system of interconnected Internet Protocol (IP) networks) was coined in 1960s or ...
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2answers
87 views

Is there a phylogenetic tree for all known languages?

I have searched all over, and found a few but none of them have all known languages that ever existed, does anyone know of one of these? (p.s. I apologize for making language mistakes, as English is ...
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2answers
184 views

Are there practical reasons why languages developed left to right or right to left writing sytems

Some writing systems go right to left, such as Arabic: Others left to right, for example modern romance languages: Languages like Japanese traditionally used vertical writing systems where the ...
6
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1answer
125 views

Did PIE *h3 cause voicing in any other words than the “drink” word?

The Proto-Indo-European "third laryngeal", *h3, is often assumed to have been a voiced sound based on the fact that some reflexes of the "drink" root *peh3- appear to show voicing assimilation of p to ...
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2answers
72 views

Labiodental sounds in languages

I noticed that IE languages often derive /v/ from /w/. It is a bit of a rare sound (predominantly IE?). I wonder how /v/ came about in various languages? In general, labiodentals seem to be a more ...
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2answers
143 views

Is there any language which doesn't have “hello”, “thank you” or “please”? [closed]

If so, is there seen some relation (origin in the Proto-Human language), or did these phrases arose independently?
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0answers
105 views

Are any dialects of English known to have a partial meet-meat merger?

For many dialects of English (including my own) multiple historical lexical sets are merged into one "FLEECE" set (this diaphoneme can be represented with IPA /iː/). I've read about the basics of the ...
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2answers
89 views

Irregular penultimate stress in English words from classical sources

Wikipedia says about stress in Latinate English words: In words of three or more syllables, stress falls either on the penult or the antepenult (third from the end), according to these criteria: ...
3
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1answer
62 views

Have there been attempts to verify accuracy of the comparative method?

Comparative method, being a great accomplishment of historical linguistics, obviously has its flaws. Reconstructions of proto-languages provided by this method can only be perceived as mere abstract ...
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2answers
97 views

What's the reason behind the “silent n”?

My impression is that the concept of a silent "n" is quite common in many different languages/linguistic families . What is the reason that the "silent n" is so common in language as opposed to other ...
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2answers
83 views

Are there languages without subordination/only with parataxis?

My Latin teacher was talking about parataxis and hypotaxis using coordinating vs subordination conjunctions. He said that may have been the way people spoke in the past. I don't believe there ever was ...
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2answers
130 views

Why is the letter “Q” visually simillar to “O”?

G was created out of C by adding an additional line, for an obvious reason as they represented similar sounds in Latin. But why is Q pretty much O with an additional line? These two letter do not ...
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300 views

How did it happen that K was introduced to Latin alphabet in place of C and C started to mark /t͡s/ or /s/ in many languages?

I know that K has been derived from Greek kappa and C from gamma. But how did it happen that people started to use K in place of C? From what I know there were already C and G in the Latin alphabet ...
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1answer
47 views

What are the dimensions along which English & Portuguese differ? [closed]

What are the dimensions along which English & Portuguese differ, and how are these dimensions of variation related and restricted?
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1answer
109 views

How can case systems emerge diachronically?

This questions applies only to the languages which originally did not feature noun case systems and developed it over time through various sound, morphological and syntactical changes. By a case ...
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22 views

Are there resources that explore interchange between object and the subject caused by a verb?

1. Are there linguistics terms that describe the following phonemenon? 2. I desire to learn the possible explanations or reasons that in English, certain verbs interchanged the subject and object to ...
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1answer
115 views

*sn > n (in Latin)

The older consonant cluster sn- loses its s in Latin: nix "snow" vs. English snow cēna "supper" vs. older Latin cesna Two questions: 1) Since word-medial -sn- was clearly lost within the history ...
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35 views

Theories/Models to explain the language evolution? [closed]

I'd like to read about the language evolution and the models related to it such as the Schneider's Model. Any help? :)
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1answer
91 views

Is language is more about “intent” rather than a great tool for communication? [closed]

Do you think it's fair to say Language is more about "intent" rather than a great tool for communication? I wonder if it is a limitation of language in some way, that its so easy to miscommunicate ...
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2answers
182 views

Was the change in spelling from “cw” to “qu” in English associated with any difference in pronunciation?

I always thought that "cw" in Old English represented /kw/, and the same for modern English "qu", and that the change from one to the other was purely orthographic, since the "qu" digraph was more ...
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100 views

Help us save a dying language with only 1 speaker left! [closed]

It's difficult to do this single-handedly, so I could use some professional help. :) I'm a professor of Ancient Egyptian (and cosmology as well, which means I'm a perfect target for conspiracy ...
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14 views

What's the best way to combine systemic functional grammar and historical linguistics?

One last question, ladies and gentlemen, sorry about that. What's the best way to combine SFL/SFG and historical linguistics? I've just thought of diachronic genre analysis as being an interesting ...
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1answer
119 views

What is the current status of (systemic) functional grammar/linguistics

I'm sorry if my questions may sound rudimentary, so please bear with me. :-) I'm thinking of delving deeper into functional grammar/linguistics (most probably systemic in particular), perhaps with ...
2
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1answer
125 views

Why is the past participle of the French « lire » « lu », but « rire » « ri »?

Phonologically,« lire » and « rire » sound like a minimal pair, with the first letter as the only difference. So what might explain the difference between their « participes passé »? Their etymons ...
3
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1answer
76 views

Languages showing affricate-to-plosive fortition (especially diachronically)

It is well known that consonant lenition or weakening tends to be far more common cross-linguistically than the opposite process called fortition or strengthening. Now, some languages have been ...
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4answers
100 views

How was the /y/ initial in Middle Chinese borrowed into Vietnamese?

http://nomfoundation.org/common/nom_details.php?codepoint=8d0f 贏 doanh Why does the Vietnamese pronunciation of this character start with 'd'? From what I have read, this letter represented a /ð/ in ...
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1answer
66 views

English & Competing Borrowings: How many “pre-Norman” loanwords are known to have been replaced by “post-Hastings” ones?

What I am looking for: As my question suggests, I'm interested in words English has adopted from other languages. More specifically, I'm interested in old Celtic or Scandinavian (or other) loanwords ...
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2answers
159 views

Difference between “Leiden school” and “mainstream” Indo-Europeanists?

Recently, I've been asked what the difference between the "Leiden school" and "mainstream" Indo-Europeanists is. The asker is planning to study in Leiden and has been concerned with the many vague ...
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2answers
104 views

How did French lose the Latin -v-?

[Source:] Loss of Latin -v- is regular in French in some situations (compare alleger from alleviare; neige from nivea; jeune from juvenis. A different sound evolution from the Latin word yielded ...
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3answers
113 views

Is there a website where you can find cognates of certain word in other IE branches?

Just as in the title :) I wonder if there is a tool on the internet which would help in finding cognates of certain word in as much branches as possible. Say I want to find find all the cognates in ...
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1answer
61 views

Which famous linguists embrace historical logic to understand language?

[Source:] As other commenters have noted, looking for logic in language is almost always futile. No natural language is logical. But there is a historical logic to language development; even if the ...
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1answer
81 views

What is the approximate time of the loss of the intervocalic /s/ in Greek?

Teachers of Ancient Greek at my university have always been emphasising the importance of being aware of the loss of the intervocalic sigma in the language's history, because it helped to understand ...
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2answers
76 views

Calculating writing system efficiency with respect to reading ambiguity?

I have been thinking of developing a software tool that would make it possible to calculate the efficiency of a particular writing system (attested rather than hypothetical) for a particular language ...
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0answers
55 views

Possible connection between PIE Ablaut and Semitic vowel alternation

Since I started to read about language typology and then got a hint about PIE ablaut system I have been wondering if there might be any prehistorical connection between these families at least ...
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1answer
92 views

Is the prefix “proto-” reserved only for unattested languages ?

I'm not sure if there's a consensus in linguistic nomenclature about using the aforementioned prefix in naming the reconstructed languages. As we all probably know, in linguistics, there's a custom ...
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3answers
106 views

What are good linguistic arguments for keeping heterographic homophones?

While having a discussion with a friend who oft malapropriates their/there/they're, and to/too/two, he maintains the position that he has a: "disbelief that the current system is the best one" ...
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20 views

Word ageing: what reliable bibliographical references can be recommended?

I have encountered the notion of "word ageing". Lexemes (unless and until replaced through internal or external innovation) grow older and older, and with time they tend to (1) acquire some additional ...
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2answers
158 views

Base language of Mitanni Texts

I was going through the sources for early indo-iranian and according to B. Fortson the first documented manifestation of this branch are the proper names in Mitanni Texts. Since the indo-iranian word ...
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0answers
54 views

What is the difference between grammaticalization and grammaticization?

I have encountered two terms recently: grammaticalization and grammaticisation. While in most papers I have read so far both terms seem to be used interchangeably, the following paper appears to ...